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Sri Lankan English - Updates J

This page contains updates to the dictionary beginning with the letter J. It is divided into 2 parts: New Entries, and Comments and Corrections. Click here to return to the main updates page, or on the links on the left side of the page to go to another letter.

These pages are updated regularly; please contact me if you have any suggestions or feedback which can be included.


jacket piece: a length of material for making a sari jacket
All sarees come with a jacket piece making it a convenient shopping experience. ( 23/01/08)
Home coming saree red in colour and jacket piece available. ( 12/03/14)

Jaffnaite (= Jaffnese): a person from Jaffna
Prices were generally lower in these well-stocked outlets – a boon for the average Jaffnaite. (Sunday Times 11/12/11)
This accusation leads you to conclude that the Jaffnaites can get equality, dignity, justice and self-respect only under a federal or preferably under a separate state. (Sunday Observer 02/09/12)

the Jaffna man: a (stereotypical) person from Jaffna (> Tamil man)
Thus the Jaffna man’s ambivalence towards violence also extended to an ambivalence towards the militants, … (The Broken Palmyrah, by Rajan Hoole et al, page 34)
The Jaffna man was a very wise man who made a virtue of following the path of least resistance. (The Broken Palmyrah, by Rajan Hoole et al, page 83)
The Jaffna man is unlikely to forget that experience in a hurry … (The Broken Palmyrah, by Rajan Hoole et al, page 292)
Unfortunately for the Jaffna man, he chose … to lead his men into battle and paid the price. (The Broken Palmyrah, by Rajan Hoole et al, page 297)
The tropical palmyrah tree, which is a symbol of the Jaffna man's sturdiness and industrious nature, is also in the picture. (Sunday Times 22/06/03)
The Jaffna man is neither uneducated nor needs to be educated by others about his rights and privileges. … The Jaffna man was not stupid to cast his vote in gratitude to a leader for the mere reason that the particular leader stopped the war. … Failure to understand the psyche of the Jaffna man and continuing to write columns as if you are the newly found saviors of the people of Jaffna, is not going to help in any way towards bringing inter-territorial harmony. … When that process starts, we can expect some reciprocation from the Jaffna man. ( 28/12/05)
The Jaffna man, then, was a peace loving, reticent personality and the Northern Province recorded the lowest crime rate in the country. ( 28/05/07)
The thrifty Jaffna man used his dynamo very sparingly to get the maximum mileage from his bicycle tyre. Knowing this mentality of the Jaffna man the Police and the Army should have taken a more understanding attitude without giving harsh punishment for such trivial offences. ( 23/04/10)
“One of the chief reasons for banks to move into that province quickly after the war end was because of the lure of the Jaffna man’s gold and money, …” (Sunday Leader 09/01/11)
I told them that the ‘Jaffna man’ is a different breed and this factor should be taken into account. … The ‘Jaffna man’ is a doubting Thomas and will ask questions - rightly or wrongly - that the others in Sri Lanka will never ask. (comment on 09/04/12)
Although the Jaffna man’s mind is preoccupied with money and matrimony, yet the thing that he treasures most above everything else is education and scholarship. For a Jaffna man, it’s the books, and not dogs, that are his best friends. … there was a clamour for a much larger and a more permanent library to cater to the insatiable appetite of the Jaffna man. … Under normal circumstances, it would be very difficult to keep a Jaffna man quiet, but inside the library, the staff saw to it that he kept his mouth shut and read. (Island 10/10/15)
It is all about economics, again and it explains how enterprising the Jaffna man is. (Island 30/03/16)

Jaffna Tamil (= JT): a Tamil from the Jaffna peninsula; also the Tamil dialect spoken by the Jaffna Tamil community (> Sri Lankan Tamil, upcountry Tamil)
Further, the Jaffna Tamils acted on behalf of the state as civil administrators and officials in the Eastern Province and established their dominance. As a result the Batticaloa Tamils learned to regard the peninsula Tamils and their motives with deep suspicion. (The Broken Palmyrah, by Rajan Hoole et al, page 340)
He was not always recognized as a Jaffna Tamil. (Love Marriage, by V.V. Ganeshananthan, page 212)
He is a Jaffna Tamil who speaks impeccable Sinhalese, but shaky English. (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 81)
The others asked me about the politics of the growing Jaffna Tamil community in Toronto, … (The Hungry Ghosts, by Shyam Selvadurai, page 164)
Those Jaffna Tamils who had an education in English, were able to excel in the professions and in government service. (Nobodies to Somebodies, by Kumari Jayawardena, page 203-4)
He knew that the Jaffna Tamil, more than any other ethnicity, was yoked to his tradition. (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 523)
However, I was a lot more fluent with the Jaffna Tamil terms, … (Time Will Write a Song for You: Contemporary Tamil writing from Sri Lanka, page 234)
… he had come to know that the majority of the landlords preferred to have Jaffna Tamils as tenants, even if they were themselves from different parts of the island. (Rails Run Parallel, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 81)

Jaffnese (= Jaffnaite): a person from Jaffna
The Jaffnese, as noted above, had a lot of justifiable dislike for the Greens. ( 11/01/10)
With Jaffnese terseness he only said: what pay? I gave him the amount. My Father smiled. “You will be the first Jaffnese,” he said, “to give up 125 a month for 75 a month.” (Island 02/09/11)
“Are you from Jaffna? Yes, looks so. That is still better. ‘Jaffnese’ are always a good lot; trouble-free and reliable.” (Rails Run Parallel, by Ayathurai Santhan, page 84)

jam bottle: jam jar (> bottle)
They held out bowls, empty jam bottles, mugs. (All is Burning, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 404)One of the half-sized jam bottles in which she put the condiments … (Shrapnel, by Neil Fernandopulle, page 124)
That was how most people saved money. In prayer books, jam bottles, under mattresses … (The Lament of the Dhobi Woman, by Karen Roberts, page 125)

jaramara: mess, confusion (Sinhala)
My life has become a real jaramara.
Major jaramara and hullabaloo. (Theravada Man, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 292)
I am not above saying, when speaking in English, that something or other was a real “jara-mara” or, perhaps, an “achcharu”. (Island 22/04/09)

jilmart: (also jilmaat) fraud, dishonesty
Manape jilmaat: Ministers in recounts at counting centre (Sunday Times 11/04/10)
Residents suspect jilmart in distribution of voter registration forms (Sunday Times 18/07/10)
I thought he might do a jilmart and show a small profit (since these are not audited results), ... (comment on 15/08/13)
Economic data ‘jilmart’ and development myth revealed (Sunday Times 12/01/14)

~ computer jilmart: computer fraud, esp. in processing election results
Barking up the Jilmart tree
Almost exactly five years ago, I had to lead a team from the Colombo University’s School of Computing to assist the Elections Commissioner in the final processing of results. As has been done at all presidential and general elections since 1982, our team ensured that an error-free processing was carried out during that election too. However, most readers would remember that particular election for the new term coined by an opposition politician – computer jilmart, which was alleged to have taken place to make the incumbent win. … How then can we explain the ‘computer jilmart’ phenomenon, or the situation that prompted it – an apparently inexplicable defeat of a popular opposition candidate? … The jilmart happens before the election, as it has happened in increasingly more sophisticated ways ever since the executive presidency began in this country. (Sunday Times 21/12/14)

Alleged computer jilmaat: SC rejects Rosy’s FR application (Island 17/05/16)

jingbang: shebang (orig. Scottish, also used in the West Indies)
> Jingbang is used like shebang in the expression the whole jingbang meaning the whole thing or the whole lot. But while the whole shebang normally refers to inanimate things, the whole jingbang normally refers to a group of people, for example a gathering of family or friends. In the third citation (from the Sunday Observer) jingbang is used to mean a fuss or a hullabaloo.
"I suppose your whole jing-bang family will come and drink and dance the devil and no sleep for the baby." (Yakada Yaka, by Carl Muller, page 2)
The whole jing-bang would go upstairs at the Muslim Hotel for biriyani, roast chicken and wattalappan. (A Nice Burgher Girl, by Jean Arasanayagam, page 10)
Then it was that someone had the idea of having a play going along with the carnival jingbang to add a touch of literary interest to the entertainment. (Sunday Observer 08/09/02)
> See also "J is for jingbang" in the A-Z of Sri Lankan English

joker: (coll.) (= fellow, bugger)
Only one joker has turned up.

“A constitution is meant for good governance. But these jokers are using it for exploitation.” (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 222)
“Even India had many such jokers, …” (Sinhala Only, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 480)
“The army should have been dispatched right away, but these jokers …” (On Sal Mal Lane, by Ru Freeman, page 251)

Josephian (Joe): a student or former student of St Joseph's College, Colombo (> Royalist)
Sonnaboy was an ‘old Joe’ – having schooled, albeit sketchily, at St Joseph’s College … (Once Upon a Tender Time, by Carl Muller, page 17)
“Look at our World Cup squad. … One Josephian.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 54)
Old Joes beat the star-studded Old Peterites to win Saints rugby Quadrangular
… For the first time in 47 years the Saints Quadrangular tournament (Old Joes, Old Peterites, Old Anthonians and Old Benedictines) included rugby in this year's tournament.  ( 25/08/14)
Strong-willed Joes out-power Petes after 15 years ( 22/03/15)

JR: (former President) JR Jayawardene
JR implemented island-wide curfew. (Monsoons and Potholes, by Manuka Wijesinghe, page 263)
Will Ranil do to China what JR did to India? (Ceylon Today 20/04/16)
MR was paid by JR to divide SLFP - CBK (Daily Mirror 01/11/16)

JT (= Jaffna Tamil): (coll.) a Tamil from the Jaffna peninsula
The claim must be that Vanni Tamils, Mannar Tamils, Batticaloa Tamils etc are all subordinated hierarchically to Jaffna politicians - Vellahlah JT politicians at that - who will always claim to lead. ( 18/07/12)

jungi: in (his/her) jungies: (coll.) still a child
… and what’s more he knew Mariazelle from her young days when she was running around in her ‘jungies’ in his father's ancestral home! (Sunday Observer 28/07/02)
Mr. Samaranayake, who must have been in his “jungies” during that time, has no knowledge of these realities. ( 27/09/03)
… Prof. J. L. C. Rodrigo who used to write the popular ‘Adonis’ column for the Daily News when I was in jungies … (Island 29/08/04)
Perhaps not by many voluble young politicians who were in their jungies at the time of the Indian intervention. (Sunday Leader 11/07/10)

junthu: (coll.) power, energy, oomph (Sinhala)
His speeches don’t have enough junthu. (Example quoted by Manique Gunesekera in The Postcolonial Identity of Sri Lankan English)
(The Burghers) graduated to being a colourful community, adding jism and junthu to this multi cultural melting pot that's Sri Lanka. (Rajpal Abeynayake, Sunday Times 10/05/98)
LTTE speed boats … Not enough ‘junthu’ in their motors. (comment on 09/10/05)
Silly voice but good beat. Has a real junthu about it. (comment on 03/09/11)

just go!: (coll.) nonsense!, rubbish!, go away!
“Just go men.” (Chinaman, by Shehan Karunatilaka, page 13)
“Just go men, you know who that is.” (What Lies Between Us, by Nayomi Munaweera, page 42)


Jayamangala gatha: not only sung at weddings, but also at other festive occasions

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